Alaska Journal of Commerce
By: Elwood Brehmer
Beginning Jan. 1 it will be a little more expensive for most companies to move fuel and cement across the docks at the Anchorage port.
That’s because the Anchorage Assembly approved new tariffs on the commodities on Dec. 17. While the import charges are regularly updated to account for inflation and operational costs at the port — renamed the Port of Alaska in 2017 — the latest tariff hike is significantly greater than normal in order to help fund construction of a new, roughly $200 million petroleum and cement terminal, or PCT.
The new PCT will be the first construction of new dock facilities at the aging port since 2010 when severe damage to installed sheet pile was discovered and the original port expansion project was halted. That project spent roughly $300 million of public money but left little to show for it.
No one disputes that the badly corroded docks at the port need to be overhauled or replaced, but representatives from fuel and cement companies that use the port have consistently argued against immediate major tariff increases throughout the nearly yearlong debate on the issue. They insisted changes should not be made to tariff rates until a construction and funding plan was again in place for the overall port modernization project, not just the PCT.